petrossian_fondue.jpg

petrossian_cake.jpg

Make a Perfect Grilled Cheese Sandwich

by Amy Sherman
Print Email

grilledcheeseWould you like to know the secrets to great grilled cheese sandwiches? Heidi Gibson, the Commander-in-Cheese of The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen is a serious grilled cheese champ. She has won more grilled cheese sandwich contests than anyone. Last night I learned from Gibson how to make breakfast and brunch versions of grilled cheese sandwiches and picked up some amazing tips.

So let's get started! 

What's best to slather on your bread?
On the outside Gibson goes with butter, she recommends European style and she likes salted, not unsalted butter so that the sandwich has a bit of "salty crunch" when you bite into it. 

What kind of bread should you use? 
Almost any kind! With the exception of potato bread which does not lend itself well to grilled cheese sandwiches. Bread with holes can be used, but find a cheese that will melt though, giving you crusty "plugs." Some types of bread to consider--levain, sourdough and artisan whole wheat. 

What about seasoning your ingredients? 
Here Gibson breaks with tradition and says, if you have salty ingredients like bacon or ham, don't season each ingredient as you go. Cheese also adds salt, and salted butter will add flavor to your bread. 

 

heidigibsonWhat seasonal ingredients are good to use? 
The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen has offered up sandwiches with brussels sprouts, preserved Meyer lemons, asparagus and even butternut squash. While the sandwiches were delicious, they did not become best sellers with customers looking for more familiar fare. 

What about fruit?
Sure! Gibson particularly likes peaches and strawberries. 

What's the best technique for grilling a sandwich?
It's not using a panini press, which creates a pressed sandwich something different from a traditional grilled cheese according to Gibson. Her technique is to use a hot convection oven. Place your sandwich on a sheet pan or a hot cast iron pan, and cook each side separately before assembling. This technique allows for more fillings and height to a grilled cheese sandwich. 

What pairs best with grilled cheese sandwiches?
Beer! Gibson likes porter with an aged gouda and bacon sandwich and a hoppy IPA with spicier sandwiches. 

MORE TOP TIPS:

Control your moisture. You want to prevent the bread from getting soggy, so if you are using a wetter ingredient like tomatoes or a wetter cheese like fresh mozzarella, layer in between drier ingredients between the bread.

Always put the smaller side of the bread on the outside, so you have more surface area inside. 

Avoid triple cream cheeses and brie which are too delicate for most grilling techniques or use in the middle rather than next to the bread. 

More is not better, be sparing with fillings. The balance of bread and cheese and other fillings is key.

 

Amy Sherman is a San Francisco–based writer, recipe developer, restaurant reviewer and all around culinary enthusiast. She blogs for Epicurious , Bay Area Bites and Cooking with Amy .   

Add comment


Security code
Refresh

Restaurant News

RivaBella Ristorante: Italian Luxury Just Off The Sunset Strip
Los Angeles
by David Latt

rive1RivaBella Ristorante is in West Hollywood on the border of Beverly Hills and within sight of the Sunset Strip. From the outside, RivaBella has the look of an expensive fine dining restaurant. Walk...

Read more...
The Nugget Diner
Las Vegas
by Scott R. Kline

thenugget.jpgThe Nugget Diner in Reno, Nevada represents much of what Reno is all about. From a run down strip near downtown Reno, one enters through the gaudy exterior, which portrays a nugget of gold...

Read more...
Little Rascal
New York
by Michael Tucker

littlerascalsWe went to the Lower East Side the other night to see what the young people are up to. Our son, Max, was playing a gig at the Bowery Ballroom with a great band called dinowalrus. They totally...

Read more...
Hatfield's
Los Angeles
by Juliet Seniff

hatfields_logo.jpgMarriage is a beautiful thing: the union of two people who perfectly complement one another.  So be it with food.  And what better way to appreciate them both than at Hatfield’s, an epicurean...

Read more...